Donna steps out of KT's shadow to take the spotlight

ONE has headlined Edinburgh's Hogmanay party and enjoyed worldwide musical success, while the other is still waiting for her big break.

As KT Tunstall was selling millions of albums, her friend Donna Maciocia was still performing in pubs with her band Amplifico.

But now Donna finally looks set to step out of the shadow of her famous friend as her band's debut album was launched at the weekend.

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It's an exciting time for a woman so admired by Edinburgh-born KT that the star has featured her in a video, toured with her and had her sing on her album.

Donna, 26, and her Edinburgh-based band mates Ross Kilgour, 27, and Dave Brunton, 27, are now hoping for a taste of their friend's success.

Despite a similarly distinctive voice and long dark hair, Donna is reticent about comparisons with the former Edinburgh busker.

The ex-Mary Erskine pupil said: "It's a compliment to be compared to KT Tunstall. When I first saw her in Medina I was blown away.

"I absolutely see the comparison, but it's frustrating because we are totally different."

Amplifico had their first gig in 2004 at Medina in Lothian Street at Acoustic Experience, the monthly club night set up by KT.

But it was only when they were on the same bill at Bannermans in the Cowgate later that year that the two women met properly.

"She stayed and watched us support her. She came up to me at the end and said: 'I love your voice, we have to work together' and we exchanged numbers."

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True to her word, KT asked Donna to go to Skye for three days to be a backing vocalist on her album Acoustic Extravaganza.

A few weeks later she asked Donna to appear in the video she was making in London for Another Place to Fall.

"I'd gone down to London in just the clothes I was wearing and I ended up being there a week," said Donna.

"My outfit in the video was not glamorous at all. I was wearing pyjamas as I was playing a character who was miserable looking at herself in the mirror. I still have the clothes."

Donna and KT occasionally spend time together as friends when the star has a break in her busy schedule that takes her all over the world.

"I go through phases of not hearing from her for months because she's in the US, but she always keeps her promises," she said.

Donna has sent KT a copy of Amplifico's album, See Heart See Muscle, which was recorded thanks to donations from fans received through their website. They started raising money more than a year and a half ago.

She said: "We are so proud. It feels like we have reached the end of our degree in music and this is our final thesis."


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AFTER four years performing gigs and gathering an internet fan base, success will taste sweet for Donna. And sweets are something she knows more about than most, being born into a family steeped in the confectionery business.

Her grandfather Alfred Maciocia invented Skull Crushers – a white chocolate skull, filled with pink fondant.

Her great-grandfather came to Kirkcaldy from Italy and opened the Alma sweet manufacturer. Her father Max went into the family business.

Donna said: "My brother and I would wear seven coats into the factory to fill our pockets."